The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is almost here again and will this year be held at Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Ms Laurie Walker, Chief Executive Officer at the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘NAIF – financing infrastructure development as an enabler of growth’.


NAIF’s vision is to contribute to transforming northern Australia through financing infrastructure development.

Since its inception on 1 July 2016, NAIF has been working to accelerate infrastructure development, which is an enabler of growth in northern Australia and a generator of public benefit. In its first 20 months of operation NAIF has 16 projects in its due diligence and execution phases.

The NAIF is approaching an exciting period with the facility on track to reach investment targets to make financial commitments on between three and five projects by the end of the 2018 financial year. These targets involve NAIF investments of between $300m and $1bn and total project capital value of between $750m and $2.5bn. That is significant progress given independent data demonstrates infrastructure projects take time (typically 2 to 3 years) to move from concept to financial close.

Ms Walker (NAIF’s CEO) will discuss the NAIF’s activities and stakeholder engagement including the growth in its pipeline of potential infrastructure investments across all three northern jurisdictions and in diverse sectors for example, energy and renewables, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, water infrastructure, tourism (including unique Indigenous cultural experiences), communications and social infrastructure.

She will also discuss the new ways NAIF is looking to bring benefit to our northern Australia constituents. For example, considering co-operative models where funding structure can encourage the development of infrastructure to improve sustainable use of land through better irrigation. NAIF has the expertise and ‘toolbox’ of concessionality within its mandate to encourage investment which would typically be ‘inside the fence’, i.e. on single user properties – to be leveraged across a number of different individual projects to bring scale and efficiency for business and communities.


Laurie Walker was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) in October 2016. NAIF is a Commonwealth Government $5 billion lending facility, established 1 July 2016. Its vision is to contribute to transforming northern Australia through financing infrastructure development so as to encourage and complement private sector investment in northern Australia. NAIF is a ‘market gap’ financier established to provide loans (which may be concessional) to infrastructure projects that are viable in the long term, but which, without NAIF, would be unlikely to proceed, or would only proceed at a much later date or with a more limited scope.

NAIF’s focus on public benefit and growth, and encouraging private sector and Indigenous involvement in northern Australia, are key differentiators from other lenders. Laurie has extensive and varied experience in banking and law including public and private sector financing of infrastructure such as airports, roads, rail, schools and hospitals. Laurie has held leadership roles as an Executive Director, Institutional Loans and Specialised Finance at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) and as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer in the Institutional Banking and Markets, Corporate Finance division of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). She has also worked in Hambros Australia’s financial advisory unit and as a finance lawyer at Allen Allen & Hemsley. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Laws (Honours) and Master of Laws (Honours) both from the University of Sydney.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.